Help me grow nice hair. please.

I shaved my head a while back in order to grow my hair even and nice. Its about 4/5ths of an inch now and its not growing in nice at all. Its rough and coarse and nappy and I don’t like it. Its growing straight out, so its looking a little like a mini afro. I use pantene Pro-V shampoo and conditioner as well as that moisterizing Dove shampoo everyday. They don’t seem to be doing much of anything. I want my hair to be sleek and smooth, and I know it might get better later but it also might get a lot worse. Any tips from anyone who has grown their hair out would be kindly appreciated.

I have thick, dry curly hair (I’m a girl) and my hair started getting smoother when I started adding more fats to my diet because I went low-carb.

Not suggesting low-carb at all, but some fatty acids, as found in fish and nuts might help. Gotta nip that problem from the inside.

You can find many fish-oil and “essential” supplements at almost any store, or specific hair and nail supplements at online herbalists like vitacost (search the keyword ‘hair’)

First, IANAHairdresser…
I have a pretty nice head of hair, but I wouldnt recommend using pantene. It can really make your hair feel smooth, but because it leaves quite a residue on your hair rather than actually improving the quality of your hair. Shampoos like dove do get rid of it, but then why use the pantene in the first place? And, unless your scalp is really oily or if you get really dirty, don’t wash your hair every day. This will become easier as your hair gets longer because the oils from your scalp will actually have someplace to go rather than hanging out in that 4/5ths of an inch of fuzz you’ve got going.

Dove shampoo and conditioner, then maybe one of those deep conditioning treatments (like a ‘hot oil’ thing) every couple of weeks…

good luck! I think things will improve the longer it gets.

Shampoo won’t help your hair grow well, proper nutrition, and maybe vitamin and protein supplements will. Get plenty of protein, like eggs, and such. There is a reason why some women notice how nice their hair is when they are pregnant. It’s not just the hormonal change, it’s the fact that for the first time, they are getting enough vitamins and protein to grow nice hair.

Another vote for the “no shampoo” camp. Unless your hair smells or is dirty or really greasy, use it sparingly. Rinse your hair out really well, and apply some conditioner (whatever works for you.)

I’m a hygienic neat freak, and it pains me to go without shampooing… I have thick, curly, yet fine hair, that loves to frizz out. Once I get over the imagined dirty hair feeling, I realize all the “gee your hair looks terrific!” compliments!

As for hair products, i’ve always liked Infusium, but my new favorite is CitreShine(?). It’s this spray stuff, it makes my curls really shiny! They also have a smoothing gel, I used to use it until i tamed my hair, finally.

I have hair down to my butt and it’s very thick and “nice”, so perhaps I can provide some advice.

First of all, you have to work with what your parents gave you - your genes. Some people have naturally thicker hair than others, some people have hair that grows faster than others. Hair comes in all thicknesses, textures, etc. The trick is to maximize what comes naturally.

As already pointed out, a good diet is essential. If you don’t have the proper building blocks, your body can’t grow good hair.

Second, you’re washing your hair too much. Really. Over-shampooing will keep it clean, yes, but also makes it brittle and prone to breakage. Keeping in mind that hair six inches long is at least six months old, and despite what advertising says, it’s dead and can’t be repaired if damaged, and the longer the hair the older the end of it furthest from your scalp is, it’s important not to expose it to damaging chemicals to keep it in peak condition.

The downside is that your scalp has probably gotten used to having the oils stripped off daily. If you cut back suddenly you’re going to feel like a grease pit, even if you don’t look like one. So cut back on the shampooing over a couple weeks. Unless you work in some sort of dusty/filthy environment, you don’t need to shampoo every single day. If it makes you feel better, rinse your hair with water in the shower, but don’t use shampoo every time. Use the mildest shampoo you can find. Me, I use baby shampoo. Don’t use too much shampoo, and don’t overcondition, either! Remember - these hair care product companies don’t really care about your hair, they care about moving their product. Rinse, rinse, rinse! Get all the soap/detergent ('cause that’s what shampoo is!) out of your hair.

Stay away from blow dryers, curling irons (although at 4/5 inch I somehow doubt you’re using those right now), or anything else that heats up your hair. Let your hair air-dry naturally.

As for the texture - the rough n’ nappy may be your hair’s texture when short, and more length will help. If the density is uneven it may be due to a number of causes… again cut back on the shampoo and any chemicals used in your hair, which can irritate your scalp and cause breakage. Hair grows at best an inch a month, and in some people their best rate is less than that. It’s going to take some time to see an effect from any change you make. If you switched to the perfect diet/exercise/shampoo routine it would still be at least a month before you noticed any change, and longer for it to make a significant difference. What you do in the meanwhile - shave again, live with it, wear a hat, etc. - is up to you.

I found that using a boar’s hair brush to distribute the natural oils was actually a good, natural way to “tame” my hair. (My hair is almost past my butt.) I wash about every other day, depending on if my hair has gotten particularily dirty, or I’ve been around a smoker. I can’t “just rinse my hair”, if I get it wet, I have to condition it or it will TANGLE! (So, I have to pin it up under a shower cap when I bathe.) I do use mild shampoos, and not much conditioner.

As Broomstick told you, hair quality is often dependent on genes. Those thick, lustrous, shiny heads you see on the Pantene ads are NOT the result of the shampoo you use. If you inherited a dull/coarse/fine head, that’s what you are going to have to live with. It’s all to do with the hair shaft itself…round hairs (IIRC) predispose you to having no shine, whilst flattened shafts (again IIRC) allow the light to bounce off it beautifully, just like the birds in the ads.

If you want sleek and smooth, try to get reborn into the Asian genetic pool.


All shampoos are just detergents (although some smell better than others) and will strip your hair of grease and grime. Conditioners just add more gunk to your hair…they do NOT affect the state of the hair or its growth or quality in any way.
Despite the miracles the manufacturers say they can perform.

My hair is now halfway down my back… three years’ growth… and I pamper my hair with nutrition. I eat walnuts and other nuts, as well as flaxseed, to oil the follicles from inside. I oil and massage my scalp with jojoba the night before I wash it. Jojoba is actually not oil but a wax that’s liquid at room temperature. It is similar to the natural scalp sebum. One theory I’ve heard is that massaging jojoba into the scalp can remove dead cell buildup and free the scalp grow hair better. I add rosemary essential oil to the jojoba because it’s reputed to stimulate hair growth, I don’t know. Women of India use coconut oil on their hair, and look what long thick beautiful hair they have. I use coconut oil at night too as well as jojoba.

Once you get length, concentrate your shampoo on your scalp, don’t put any on the ends. Just running your fingers through the length as you rinse will distribute a small amount of shampoo to the ends, all that they need. The other way around with conditioner: concentrate conditioner toward the ends, the scalp doesn’t need it.

I don’t put shampoo on my scalp at all, it would dry my scalp, and cause flaking.

Nappy? You have baby poo-wee-wrapped-in-an-absorbent-layer hair?

Ain’t English a funny thing.

So where do you put your shampoo, Zabali Clawbane? In the middle of your hair’s length?

I feel a bit more comfortable using Avalon Organics shampoo and conditioner, it has plant extracts and it does not have sodium laureth sulfate (something to avoid). It’s gentle enough to use a bit more frequently, and I get compliments on my hair just from using Avalon Organics and nothing else. Also, my hair tolerates daily shampoo better if I use jojoba and coconut oil on it the night before.

[CM Burns]

“Product”, heat treatments, and color. These are the three beasts you must slay to be successful in hair growing.

[/CM Burns]

And I’ll echo what many others have said: easy on the shampoo. I have a very very greasy scalp, live in a hot climate and have excessively fine hair and only shampoo at most every other day. And when I do, scalp only and rinse through. I also second the boar’s hair brush for distributing the sebum down the shaft of hair. Also, never brush wet hair as it is very weak when saturated, use a wide-toothed comb instead. And when the time comes, work out tangles from the bottom up. And take your vitamins, you should anyways. :slight_smile:

TSC, elbow-length and growing. (Although Mr. Creature has me beat by a foot or so.)

Essential Fatty Acids. Biotin. Vit E (max 400iu/day). And- a regular multi-vitamin once a day.

A scalp massage will at least feel good.

And, yes, don’t shampoo so often. Deep clean one a week with Nizoral- but… see the next line.

It is just possible that you are one of those who react badly to Sodium lauryl Sulfate (“SLS”)- found in 95% of all toothpastes and shampoos (inlcuding Nizoral, i think). Do you get canker sores?

If so, you might change to a non-SLS toothpaste and non-SLS shampoo. Both can be found at health food stores. in the "regular’ drug store, I know that Biotene toothpaste is one of the few that is SLS free.


I flip my hair upside down, and apply the shampoo from about an inch or so away from the scalp, not directly onto the scalp. The suds do get used on the scalp, (and the diluted detergent is enough to cut my oils, even on my hairs “oily kicks” in the summer) but I notice a difference in flaking if any shampoo gets directly on my scalp before being mixed with water and forming a lather, so I avoid that. I’m even more careful with conditioner. (I took my hairdresser’s advice, who upon noticeing flakes, asked me how I applied my shampoo/conditioner, and showed me the way that worked for her, and me.)

There’s some sort of weird urban legend that Pantene causes particular build-up or something, and that it will over time ruin your hair. There is nothing to this, and there’s no reason not to use it if it works. The length comment is probably accurate, though; if your hair is coarse it may well simply not lay down when it’s short.

teemingOne, Your hair’s texture is largely genetic, and there’s very, very little to be done about it. Dietary changes could conceivably help, but probably only if your diet is seriously inadequate - if you’ve got some sort of nutritional lack, then it will affect your hair. Otherwise, dietary approaches to fixing hair are just so much voodoo. It sounds like your hair is course and sticks up; that’s just your hair’s natural texture and it won’t change much, or at all. Heavy conditioners may help tame your hair but they won’t cause any permanent changes in it.

Styling products are probably your best bet; I would try a pomade or wax to sleek your hair down. Another approach is silicone oil, usually found in products to tame frizzy hair. These oils are really a godsend for hairstyling; they’re very light oils that don’t feel greasy but help to weigh down the hair shaft which is what you need, and they also make it appear smoother and shinier. They don’t cause very much buildup, either, so as long as you shampoo a few times a week you won’t be left with icky limp hair as a result. Look for styling products - either sprays or “serums” that you comb into your hair - that claim to add weightless shine or smooth frizzy hair, and the first few ingredients should include dimethicone, cyclomethicone, or similar-sounding chemicals. Use them sparingly, though, because too much can make your hair feel oily.

Don’t shampoo it more than necessary, but don’t go for long periods of time without it either - your scalp releases natural waxy oils that will help control your hair but will also go rancid and smell bad, and provide food for legions of bacteria. Wash it when it genuinely seems dirty, which depending on your scalp’s natural oiliness might be three times a week or so. There’s nothing that you can do on the outside to influence how much oil your skin or scalp produce - this is a myth, and one heavily promulgated by cosmetics companies (the claim being that oily skin needs more moisturizer in order to convince it to stop producing oil. This is nonsense.) The only thing that impacts your skin and hair’s oiliness is your hormones; you can’t fix your genetics, especially not with anything you smear on your skin or hair.

Exactly. Plus keep in mind that the hair you see in ads is hair that has been fussed with by dozens of hairstylists, it’s so heavily coated with silicone oils that it’s probably disgusting to touch, and it probably hasn’t been washed with whatever is being advertised.

Your scalp is what really needs shampoo, not your hair. Your scalp is what releases the oils that make your hair dirty, so make sure to carefully rub your scalp with your fingertips while shampooing your hair.

There’s absolutely nothing to the notion that “plant extracts” or “botanicals” do anything for your hair. Shampoo and conditioner and styling products all act on the surface of your hair and skin; there is no possible mechanism for these things, or vitamins, or anything else to effect any kind of real change to your hair. (Short of the strong chemicals in permanent dyes and perms.) Plant extracts are present in miniscule quantities when they’re used, and their presence means that more preservatives are needed to prevent the product from getting moldy. None of those exotic additions do anything, so skip the Tasmanian guava or Madagascar honey orchid extracts.

There’s nothing wrong with sodium laureth sulfate, either. All shampoos contain detergents (or, in a few cases with the ultra-organic types, soaps) and they all do the same thing. They help water and oil form an emulsion that permits the oil to be washed away from the hair. Sodium lauryl sulfate is one of the harsher detergents used, so avoid products that have it high on the ingredients list. But sodium laureth sulfate is absolutely fine.

If you really do react badly to sodium lauryl sulfate (which is not something I’ve ever heard any real evidence for, email forwards aside), you don’t need to go to a health food store to find products without it. Just, you know, look at the ingredients list on the bottle (am I the only person in the world who does this?) I don’t recommend cosmetics from health food stores at all, mostly because they’re unnecessarily expensive, and rarely are they much different from regular grocery-store products anyway. There’s very little mystery to shampoo; they all use detergents (which are all manufactured from caustic, dangerous chemicals) and they’re actually made from a very small number of different chemicals, all of which are purchased from the same few giant chemical companies - whether the product makes claims about being “natural” or not. There just isn’t that much variation in hair products - while there’s the occasional terrible product out there, there’s nothing that’s particularly amazing.
If you’re interested in it, you oughta take a look at Paula Begoun’s book, Don’t Go Shopping for Hair-Care Products Without Me, which provides product reviews and, more importantly, information about the bizarre myths that people believe about hair products (she’s written similar books on cosmetics.) It’s actually quite fascinating, and it will help filter out some of the noise that you hear. There’s a lot of very mistaken beliefs out there about hair care, and a lot of them are carefully nurtured by cosmetics companies.

In the end, though, you’re pretty much stuck with the hand you’re dealt, hair-wise. Do what you can with styling products, but don’t expect any miracle product to give you whatever texture of hair is in at the moment. Find styles that look good with the hair you were born with. A good hairstylist is your best bet in figuring out a style that will work with your own hair.

Oh, and all the naturophiles here will probably hate me for saying this, but I’ve dyed my hair a lot of times, and it’s always become much more manageable and much less prone to stick up when it’s dyed. Shinier, too. It’s not good for your hair in the long run, and I don’t recommend it if you’re growing it long, but it does work.

Well, the problem is- you can read all the labels you want in the normal Shampoo asle, and all you’ll find is products with SLS. Now, there has been a completely unwarrented scare about SLS and cancer, ture. But even this pro-industry biased website admits that SLS is a “potent skin irritant”:

And here is a anti-industery biased website that is rather scary:
I could not find the original study, nor any site which was neutral.

But even laying aside any possible dangers of SLS- anything that harsh could be a potential allergen, or some dudes could just react badly to it. Not *dangerously *badly, but “slow hair loss, itchy scalp and hair problems” badly.

I do knwo that some dudes react badly to SLS in toothpaste and get Canker sores. Now sure, those aren’t dangerous like cancer is, but they sure can be painful and annoying.

Maybe Zabali Clawbane’s scalp sensitivity is due to SLS. What different kinds of shampoos have you tried, ZC? If it’s true, as DrDeth avers, that every last shampoo in the CVS or Target or Hell-Mart contains SLS, then ask in a health food store for some nice mild SLS-free shampoo. Like I said, I’m satisfied with Avalon Organics, stuff I can use every day* without damage.

Another point —extraneous to hair care— that’s important with me is no animal testing. Avalon Organics has “No Animal Testing” printed on the label, and I won’t buy anything unless it says this.

*My hair is the finest-textured hair you’ll ever see. It’s so lightweight that you can scarcely feel it. I need to shampoo it like every day during the work week, because if I go just one day without shampoo, it gets all flat and lifeless. Again, Avalon Organics (I’m not paid by them to write this, I swear!) makes volumizing shampoo & conditioner that give my hair the bulk it needs to look good. Because I shampoo every morning Monday through Friday, I use jojoba and coconut oil at night to protect my hair from being all stripped to hell. So far, it works. I get almost no split ends any more.

I’ve tried the salon shampoos like Biolage and Paul Mitchell, and if I’m not careful to keep the undiluted shampoo from contacting my scalp directly, I still get flakes. Excalibre, I do make certain I scrub my scalp, with the suds of the shampoo, which is, after all, what is used for cleaning anyway. (I apply the shampoo to my hair, work up a good lather, then lather my scalp.) The oil is cut, and the dirt removed. I currently use Aussie Mega Shampoo, (because I have a very tight budget atm, and this shampoo is actually decent) which uses Ammonium laureth sulfate and Ammonium lauryl sulfate. (The laureth is listed first in ingredients, the lauryl is well down on the list.) I buy the stuff because it’s gentle enough, yet it does get my hair clean. (My hair is very thick, of varying textures, I have both fine and coarse hairs growing out of my scalp.) There are some shampoos that I can’t use at all, they dry my hair and skin terribly, Aussie isn’t one of them.

I myself don’t use shampoos with sodium lauryl sulfate. I’m not claiming that it’s good for your skin or hair - it’s harsher than most other detergents, so I recommend you avoid it. (Though it’s only a “potent skin irritant” in any technical sense at very high concentrations, much higher than you’ll find in normal shampoos.) My only argument was that I’ve never heard any evidence of particular sensitivities to it. That’s not to say it doesn’t happen (you can probably be sensitive to just about any chemical), just that I don’t believe it’s common. Like I said, I avoid it myself, so I’m sympathetic to the idea of skipping it.

That said, it’s really not hard at all to find shampoos in the drugstore that don’t contain it if you read the labels. I’m not sure why you’re trying to claim that it’s virtually universal in shampoos because it really isn’t. In fact, I just checked my bottle of Pantene - no sodium lauryl sulfate. (Pantene is still, I believe, the most popular shampoo in the U.S.) The main detergents are ammonium lauryl sulfate and ammonium laureth sulfate, both of which are (at least according to Paula Begoun, whom I referenced above) not harsh for your hair and skin. You can find out a surprising amount by reading labels - and it’s just not all that hard to avoid the chemical.

That sounds quite reasonable. If your skin is sensitive to the chemicals in shampoo, it makes perfect sense to avoid getting it directly on there in undiluted form. I have short hair, so it would be pretty much impossible for me to do the same as you. As long as you’re making sure your scalp gets clean, then you won’t have problems.